Dangerous Home Exercise Equipment
Many of us have pieces of home exercise equipment that may get used regularly or get stuck in a closet. During the last year of the Covid-19 lockdown, many home exercise units have gotten much more attention than ever. One byproduct of this extra attention is increased awareness that some of these units may be dangerous to adult users and, more likely, to young children and pets. An example is a May 5, 2021, Peloton treadmill recall that follows the death of one young child and at least 39 other injuries.
The Reasons for the Peloton Treadmill Recall
Peloton Interactive, Inc. is a publicly traded U.S. corporation headquartered in New York City that manufactures high-end (i.e., expensive) exercise equipment, primarily stationary bicycles, and treadmills. A unique feature of Peloton equipment is that the units include touchscreens that offer interactive classes (for a monthly fee) and other services such as video chat. Peloton has been very successful, founded in 2012 and already reaching $1.8 billion in annual revenues as of 2020.
Home exercise equipment, in general, can pose a significant danger to young children. One study by the National Institutes of Health in 2014 found that, on average, some 25,000 children under 10 years old are injured annually due to home exercise equipment.
One of Peloton’s newest and most successful models is the Tread+ treadmill. The treadmill debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 2018, the year before Peloton Inc. became a public-traded company following a $1.6 billion initial public stock offering. As with most similar treadmill units, the moving tread is moved over and by rollers at the front and rear of the unit. The tread at the rear of the unit is propelled underneath and forward as a user exercises on the treadmill. Anything — or anyone — that contacts the rear tread as the roller moves the tread under the unit may be pulled under the treadmill. If that is a small child or a pet, severe injury may result. And in at least one instance, death was the result.
A video published by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is shown below. One child walks on a treadmill when a younger child with a toy ball approaches and contacts the read tread moving around its roller. First, the toy ball, and then the child holding onto it, is caught and held by the tread. The child is then pulled headfirst underneath the tread. The video may be difficult for some people to watch, although the child does not appear to have been significantly injured in this instance.
In this particular video, it’s evident that the tread moves very slowly because the child walking on it is moving at a very slow pace. It is easy to imagine the difference in tread speed and force if an adult strides rapidly or jogs on the treadmill.
Watch YouTube Video: Peloton Recalls More Than 100,000 Treadmills After Child’s Death. The news clip below from TODAY discusses Peloton’s decision to voluntarily recall its treadmills after a federal agency warned of potentially deadly safety concerns.
Details of the Peloton Treadmill Recall
In March, Peloton sent a letter to its customers reporting that it had become aware of the death of one young child in one of these instances. The company initially resisted calls from the Consumer Products Safety Commission to recall the Tread+ but rapidly reversed course and agreed to the recall in early May 2021. Although the company apparently reported the death promptly to the CPSC, it became evident that many other incidents had occurred. The CPSC notification mentions 39 other incidents and states that the Peloton Tread+ poses a danger “to children for abrasions, fractures, and death.”
The CPSC recall notice specifically advises:
- Consumers should stop using the Peloton Tread+ if there are small children or pets in the home;
- If consumers must continue using the Tread+, it should be done in a locked room to keep children and pets away;
- All other objects should be kept away from the treadmill when it’s in use;
- When not in use, the treadmill should be unplugged and its safety key stored away from children;
- Any further incidents should be reported to the CPSC.
Sacramento Products Liability Lawyer
Hello, I’m Ed Smith, and I have been a Sacramento products liability lawyer for more than 38 years. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective Peloton treadmill or other pieces of home exercise equipment, it is crucial to seek advice from an attorney experienced in handling product defect cases. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys for free, friendly advice, call (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400, or reach us through our online form.
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Photo Attribution: Consumer Products Safety Commission
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